12/15/2011 3:58PM

Aqueduct: Speedsters clash in Gravesend

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
This Ones for Phil, with Joe Bravo riding, wins the Decathlon at Monmouth Park, coming back after a 14-month layoff.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Rule by Night and This Ones for Phil, two of the fastest sprinters around when they are right, will take the bulk of the action in Saturday’s 53rd running of the $65,000 Gravesend Handicap.

The six-furlong Gravesend, won by the likes of Mr. Prospector and Honorable Miss in a bygone era, is race 8 and is the third leg of a late pick four with a $250,000 guarantee.

As a 3-year-old here last fall, Rule by Night won the seven-furlong Groovy overnight stakes in 1:20.67, just .63 of a second off the track record set by Artax in the 1999 Carter Handicap.

After beginning 2011 with three straight losses for Steve Asmussen, Rule by Night rebounded to win the Duck Dance overnight stakes at Belmont Park, running 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.86, just .40 of a second off Super Shape’s 2009 track mark.

Rule by Night, who faded to fourth after setting the pace in the Bold Ruler last time out, carries top weight of 119 pounds, one more than This Ones for Phil.

This Ones for Phil has recorded triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures each of the past three years, beginning with a 115 winning the 2009 Sunshine Millions Dash in his first start for Richard Dutrow Jr., a race he won again with a 108. He returned from a 14-month layoff to win the Decathlon Stakes with a 103 in his first start of 2011, and was fourth behind Rule by Night in the Duck Dance most recently.

Frazil makes his stakes debut for owner-trainer Linda Rice, after being scratched from the Fall Highweight. a 5-year gelding, he has won at all four dirt tracks on the New York Racing Association circuit this year, and will be shooting for his eighth victory on the circuit in 2011.

Escrow Kid, third in the James Marvin with a Beyer Figure of 101, and Pretty Boy Freud, a New York-bred overnight stakes winner with a 99, appear to have money chances.

The wild card is Deerslayer, a pricey yearling buy at Keeneland’s September 2007 sale who did not make it to the races until age 5. This will be the gelding’s 16th start of the year, after a busy campaign on turf and synthetic surfaces at minor tracks in England.

“The plan is to get him sold and for him to remain in America,” said 30-year-old trainer Amy Weaver, who has never started a horse in the United States before. “He’s American-bred, and fetched $500,000 as a yearling.”

◗ Fans can vote for the New York Racing Association’s “Race of the Year” through Jan. 15 at nyra.com. The five nominees are Tizway’s Met Mile, Royal Delta’s Alabama, Caleb’s Posse nosing Uncle Mo in the King’s Bishop, Havre de Grace’s Woodward, and Winter Memories’ Garden City.

Gravesend H., Post Time: 3:37 ET Saturday

Purse: $65,000; 6 furlongs

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Escrow Kid

C. Doran

O. Castillo

8-1

1

Pretty Boy Freud

L. O'Brien

D. Cohen

5-1

1

Deerslayer

A. Weaver

M. Luzzi

20-1

1

Rule By Night

S. Asmussen

J. Alvarado

7-5

1

This Ones For Phil

R. Dutrow, Jr.

J. Valdivia, Jr.

2-1

1

Frazil

L. Rice

C. Velasquez

6-1